Mar 30, 2016 I Paul Seaburn

Siberian Unicorns Once Lived With Siberian Humans

Someone actually saw a unicorn and it happened in Siberia. Fossils of the Siberian unicorn have been radiocarbon dated to 29,000 years ago, which means they roamed the area at the same time as humans did. What? You’ve never heard of the Siberian unicorn? Pull up a chair.

A giant skull with one horn in the middle of its head was discovered recently in the Pavlodar region of Kazakhstan. The skull belonged to an Elasmotherium sibiricum – better known as the Siberian unicorn. Based on the size of the horned skull and other fossils, the creature was about 6 feet 6 inches tall, 15 feet long and weighed about 8,000 pounds. That’s either a unicorn pumped up with unicorn growth hormones or something else.

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A reconstructed Siberian unicorn skull and single horn

According to a report on the find published in the American Journal of Applied Sciences, Elasmotherium sibiricum looked more like a mammoth-sized rhinoceros than a single-horned white horse. Nonetheless, researchers at Tomsk State University (TSU) in Russia were still thrilled to find it because the skull and fossils of this male specimen are only 29,000 years old, meaning the Siberian unicorn didn’t die out 350,000 years ago as previously thought. This also means that the creature lived in the area with early humans whose fossils in western Siberia date back 45,000 years. Were they the cause of the later extinction of the massive yet probably tasty Siberian unicorn?

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Not a creature to be messed with

Scientist and study author Andrei Shpansky has a theory.

Most likely, the south of Western Siberia was a [refuge], where this rhino had preserved the longest in comparison with the rest of the range. There is another option that it could migrate and dwell for a while on the more southern areas.

So a few Siberian unicorns migrated to safer areas and managed to survive for another 300,000 years, only to end up extinct anyway. Did humans kill them for their horns and meat or was it something else?

Our research makes adjustments in the understanding of the environmental conditions in the geologic time in general. Understanding of the past allows us to make more accurate predictions about natural processes in the near future: it also concerns climate change.”

That’s right, Shpansky is suggesting climate change may have killed the ugly-yet-qualified-in-a-non-magical-sense Siberian unicorn.

This is why we can’t have nice things.

Paul Seaburn

Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.

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